NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO) this month named NOAA Ship Hi'ialakai the Ship of the Year for 2015. "NOAA Ship Hi'ialakai had a tremendous season characterized by outstanding teamwork, safety of personnel, and mission dedication," said Capt. Todd Bridgeman, director of marine operations for OMAO. Hi’ialakai sailed on the longest project since the ship was commissioned in 2004. The ship departed in January and returned in April 2015—a 103 day deployment from Honolulu to American Samoa, stopping at nearly a dozen Pacific islands and atolls in between. Also in 2015, the ship and crew safely sailed 25,707 nautical miles, conducted 5,010 scuba dives, assisted with the relocation of two endangered monk seals, offloaded 64,040 lbs. of gear to field camps via small boats, and recovered 6,500 lbs. of marine debris.